Netanyahu Is Chosen to Form Israel’s Next Government – The New York Times
Mr. Gantz’s party has vowed not to sit in a government led by a prime minister facing indictment, and reiterated that position on Wednesday.
“Blue and White, under my leadership, does not agree to sit in a government whose leader is facing a severe indictment,” Mr. Gantz said in a statement soon after Mr. Rivlin’s announcement.
Mr. Gantz also said he could not see a way to a power-sharing agreement since Mr. Netanyahu had already signed a pact with three right-wing and religious parties to stick together in any coalition negotiations.
Mr. Gantz has advocated a secular and liberal unity government excluding ultra-Orthodox parties. At least one of the ultra-Orthodox parties has ruled out joining a government with the number two in Blue and White, Yair Lapid.
It was the second time Mr. Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, has been given the chance to form a government in five months. He won a plurality in the previous election in April but failed to assemble a majority coalition in its aftermath, leading to a repeat election this month.
Remaining in office is essential for Mr. Netanyahu. If he is charged, he can continue to serve as prime minister until a final conviction. If he were in some lesser ministerial role, he would have to resign.
The hard-line nationalist party led by Avigdor Liberman, with eight seats, could still play the role of kingmaker. Mr. Liberman, a former Netanyahu ally turned rival, has advocated a unity government with Blue and White and Likud, but without Mr. Netanyahu’s ultra-Orthodox coalition partners.